Wednesday, June 12, 2013

One singular sensation

I recently wrote about why people should have fewer kids, from rather a negative perspective. But Lauren Sandler is inspiring me to write the flip side.

While it is true that I always thought I'd have two kids, it's not actually true that I said that. What I said was that it was our plan to have two kids, but you never know. When Hopper and I got to choose the sex of the baby we would adopt (one of the many advantages of adoption) I thought long and hard. I really wanted a daughter, so adopting a son first would practically ensure that we adopted again.

We adopted a daughter.

And there are many advantages to having a single child. Our house is (fairly) peaceful. Boo's whole life, people have been amazed at how much time Hopper and I spend together. We're big believers in scheduling, particularly for a baby, and Boo went to sleep very early when she was young, so we ate dinner together and spent our evenings together. Because there is one child, one of us can help Boo settle into bed while the other does the dishes, and then we can relax for the rest of the evening.

Just tonight I heard a mother complain that her two kids have swim practice at different times because they are different ages. We don't have problems like that. When Boo is out, all our children are out. There's no juggling of playdates or practice schedules.

It's easier to get a babysitter with one child.

We have two small cars, and that's no problem. Even when we take Wonderdog on vacation with us, we can all fit with our luggage. Hopper's car is a hatchback, and while Boo doesn't love riding in it because she has to climb behind the seat, when she has to, it works. (When she was in a carseat, she never went in that car, which we were able to arrange by leaving the four-door car wherever she was--another thing we wouldn't have been able to arrange with two kids.)

And then there's the resource issue. We've chosen to do two very expensive things--have me stay home with Boo, and send Boo to private school. Since Boo has been in full-day school I've been working part-time. Because of those two commitments, we don't have a lot of money for extras, but there's no way we'd be able to manage private school with more kids, even if I worked full-time. And we're able to afford the extras we see as most important, like swim lessons. When it comes time for college, the idea of paying for four years is much less daunting than paying for 8. And I was able to stay home when Boo was little, which was important and rewarding for me, and now I'm able to go back to work and enjoy a different kind of challenge without feeling like anyone is getting short shrift.

Having a single child is a great option for people like us who have limited resources and energy and who also are trying to be environmentally responsible. We can have a smaller house and car and save the planet from the impact of another human being, all at the same time.

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